Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Coconutty Egg Korma

I have plans for you this weekend: you are going to make this flavorful egg Korma with coconut milk for dinner. It will pair well with rice, Naan, grits, pita bread, lavash, quinoa or any other bread/grain you can think of! It is crazy good and made me wonder what I had in me to make this out of the blue. I mean, I am bad at making things up as I cook.
Coconutty Egg KormaGrowing up, I’ve had my share of tasty egg Kormas. If I’ve already told you this story, please forgive me for repeating, because my parents’ egg Korma deserves unlimited mentions! I also have very happy memories associated with this dish because egg for dinner always meant we were all alone at home, with no extended family for company. In a household that used to frown upon cooking egg in the kitchen with normal everyday utensils, family time with Roti and egg Korma was a luxury we would always look forward to.

Fast-forward to slightly grown up days, I remember gobbling up hot egg Biriyani with Jan and my favorite cousin, S, in dimly-lit restaurants that specialized in Biriyani from everywhich state. Oh, the taste. Of warm rice induced with every Indian spice imaginable. The succulent grains of Basmati coated with the Masala and fresh cilantro, oh heaven!  I had eggs, coconut milk and other things in my pantry that could make super yummy food. So I made up my own recipe and this is what I ended up with-Coconutty Egg Korma2Coconutty Egg Korma

Ingredients:
Four eggs, boiled, skins peeled and halved

One big purple onion, finely sliced

Two big tomatoes, diced

Half a can coconut milk

One Tbsp ginger-garlic paste

Two Thai green chilies

One Tbsp Dania-Jeera/Coriander-Cumin Powder

One tsp turmeric powder

One tsp cayenne pepper powder

Salt

To temper-
One tsp mustard seeds

One sprig curry leaves (optional)

Quarter bunch cilantro finely chopped

Two Tbsp cooking oil

Method:
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it pop. Add the curry leaves and the sliced onions and saute on medium flame. When slightly brown, add the ginger garlic paste, chilies and tomato. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for five minutes on medium-low.

When the tomato turns mushy, add the Dania-Jeera powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper powder and salt. Let is cook for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk and one cup of water. Bring it to boil and switch it off. Don’t let the gravy boil for too long, it will change the taste of the coconut milk. The curry will thicken when you add the halved boiled eggs. Garnish with cilantro.

I think S will dig this gravy. I just have to find a way to make it and sneak it to her when I visit home this time…

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I Love Punjabi Kadhi!

Punjabi food is amazing! Dal Makhani is one of the tastiest (and one of the easiest) Dals I’ve ever made. The Tandoor method of cooking is very common to Punjabi dishes. Made of clay, a Tandoor is an oven that gives food cooked in it a distinct, rustic taste that is seldom found in any other method of cooking. It has a distant cousin, the American barbecue. But which kind of barbecue method is beyond me because I have never barbecued and don’t see myself doing it anytime in the future either.

Although Butter Chicken (or one of those richer gravies) is the most popular dish that rolls out of a Punjabi kitchen, there are so many lighter and equally wonderful Punjabi recipes also. My favorite would always be the Punjabi Kadhi. Made of sour yogurt, this side is spiced generously with dry red chilies, cinnamon and cloves. Channa Dal flour aka basin gram flour is finally whisked in to thicken it for a soupy consistency, perfect for dipping your Roti in or mixing with rice.
kadhiKadhi, as it is with every dish in this world, has many variations and is actually native to many other Indian cuisines like Uttar Pradeshi, Gujarati, Rajasthani and Maharashtrian. The one we made at home had fried chickpea dumplings (Pakoda) in it to make it meatier and wholesome. But I have made Kadhi with potatoes and without anything dunked in too and they have all been wonderful!

Punjabi Kadhi is a wonderful dish to eat when the weather starts turning cold and you just want something warm and comforting for dinner. Fall is here so this is the most perfect time to make Kadhi!

I realized only after posting that I had not given the recipe! I quickly asked Amma for hers and she gave me her nifty little notebook she writes recipes in. This method is a mishmash of various versions of Kadhi, adopted into one tasty dish. Although it has been adapted from different places, it is as authentic as a Kadhi that comes out of a non-Punjabi kitchen gets!

Panjabi Pakoda Kadhi

Ingredients:

For the Pakoda:
One cup Besan flour

One medium-sized onion chopped

One medium-sized potato chopped

One tsp cumin seeds

One tsp cayenne pepper powder

One tsp grated ginger

Half tsp baking powder

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

For the Kadhi:
Three cups yogurt

Two Tbsp Besan flour

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

For Tempering:
Half inch stick cinnamon

Two cloves

Two whole dry red chilies

Half tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin-coriander powder

Quarter tsp fenugreek seeds

Two tsps grated ginger

Few curry leaves

Half tsp cayenne pepper powder

two Tbsp oil

Method:
Mix the Pakoda ingredients with water to form thick dough. Roll into one inch-size balls. Deep fry in oil and drain on kitchen towel. Mix the Kadhi ingredients together in a bowl. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the tempering ingredients until fragrant. Turn the heat to low and add the yogurt mixture. Let it simmer. Switch the stove off when it starts bubbling and the Kadhi thickens.

When done, dunk the Pakodas in. Eat before it turns soggy.

My most favorite way to eat Kadhi is with Papad and a pat of Ghee/clarified butter. Now you know the reason for my generous BMI, dontcha? ūüėČ


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Ratatouille and Garlic-Lemon Spaghetti

To kick-start the long weekend, I recreated one of my most favorite recipes from the blog, Ratatouille. This time, I served it with wonderful lemon-garlic spaghetti and French bread-sticks.  Dinner was done at 6pm. Do I need a bigger validation?!
ratatouille2
The spaghetti recipe has been adapted from Giada’s Lemon Spaghetti¬†and edited some. Here is the recipe:

Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti

Ingredients:
Half lb spaghetti or any long pasta

One third cup olive oil

Quarter cup lemon juice

A hand-full Italian blend cheese

Two pods garlic, finely grated

A pinch chili flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter cup basil, finely torn

Recipe:
Cook the spaghetti according to the package. Save half a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Return the spaghetti to the pan, add the sauce. If the pasta is too thick, add the pasta water gradually until it reaches the desired consistency. Mix in the basil and serve warm with ratatouille and bread-sticks.
ratatouille
It probably took me longer to click pics than eat. I would call it a job pretty well done, won’t you? Happy Labor day, stay safe!


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Paneer Dahiwala, or Anything You Want to Call it…

This dish is loosely based on the other Indian dish called Dahiwala Paneer or Paneer Dahiwala. I came across this recipe on Tarla Dalal’s website once and bookmarked it for future use. Fast forward a year and I discovered today that my book on Paneer had the same recipe (no surprises there since it was written by the same chef). Although I started the Subzi by following the book, I gradually branched out and threw in ingredients that I found fitting. Hence, you can call it anything you want. I won’t blame you.
paneer dahiwala2We bought a huge slab of Paneer last week in Atlanta and Kishore was going crazy trying to decide what he wanted me to make out of it.¬†These days, it is a pretty huge task, trying to find a good recipe for this Indian cheese that would make it the star of the show. I blame this obsession on the lack of fresh Paneer available at our local Indian grocers. Most of the time, I end up making it from scratch. At times like these, I buy it from Atlanta when we go shopping once in two months. Not surprisingly, the hub prefers the commercial version and I kinda don’t blame him for that. It is less crumbly and it doesn’t disappear when you fry it. My mom rightly observed today that taste-wise, the homemade version kicks the commercial version any day!

What I am trying to say is, make it or buy it, that is your call.

Paneer Dahiwala

Ingredients:
Two cups cubed Paneer

Two cups finely-sliced onion

Ten cherry tomatoes

One tsp tomato paste

Cilantro to garnish

One and a half Tbsp ginger-garlic paste

One tsp each of-
Cumin seeds

Fennel seeds

Nigella seeds (optional but recommended)

Mustard seeds

A small pinch of fenugreek seeds

Quarter tsp asafoetida powder (optional)

Two tsp Kasuri Methi (optional)

One tsp turmeric powder

Half tsp cayenne pepper powder

Two tsp Chat Masala/Pani Puri Masala/black salt

Salt to taste (but avoid if using black salt)

One Tbsp all-purpose flour

Two cups Greek yogurt

Quarter cup milk

Quarter cup water

Four Tbsp cooking oil

Method:
Heat the oil in a pan. Add all the seeds and when they begin to crackle, add the sliced onion. Let it caramelize on low heat. When it turns golden brown, up the heat to medium and add the ginger-garlic paste and cherry tomatoes. Saute for two minutes and then add the tomato paste, water, turmeric powder, cayenne powder, Chat Masala and salt. Let it cook for five minutes. When done, mix in the Paneer. Give it three minutes to cook.

(L-R) Sauteed caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes. Paneer in the pan with the seasonings. Simmering the gravy after adding Kasuri Methi

(L-R) Sauteed caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes. Paneer in the pan with the seasonings. Simmering the gravy after adding Kasuri Methi

Now add the yogurt and milk along with the Kasuri Methi and all-purpose flour. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for five to seven minutes. Once done, switch off the heat and garnish with cilantro leaves. If the gravy is too thick, add some water. If it is watery (which I doubt it will), add another tsp of AP and let it simmer for a few more minutes without the lid.


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Comfort Food to End the Weekend

Phew, what a weekend! We finally decided to venture out with Aarabhi so we took her to the Siva-Vishnu Hindu Temple in Atlanta. Um, let me just say it was an, er, interesting day. If you know what happens when you take a normally fussy six-weeks-old on a two-and-a-half hour drive to the city, you would know what I mean. It was one of those days I wished we had lived in a big city instead of our little corner in Alabama.
OlanSince we were going to the Atlanta anyway, we also thought it would be a good idea to show Amma around the city. She shot down our offers to take her to the aquarium (“no way!”), the Coke museum (uh-huh!) and the CNN museum (“are you kidding me?!”). Since there isn’t much else to see in Atlanta, Amma picked a visit to IKEA instead. With a temperamental baby in tow, we visited the temple, then the Indian grocer and then IKEA… and we also managed to make the return trip back home.

pbm-parotta

Paneer-Mushroom Masala and Layer Parotta (Tamil Nadu style): Friday’s dinner is Saturday’s leftover. Such is life, my friend…

Well, all I can say is it is going to take us a loooooong time (and a lot of growing up for Aarabhi) to make that trip again. We reached home at ten thirty and ate Friday’s leftovers for dinner. We took today’s lunch easy too but for Dinner, Amma made Olan.
Olan is a dish native to Kerala, a Southern state in India. This coconutty dish is made with white pumpkin and black eyed peas, mildly seasoned with Thai green chilies and curry leaves. As I’ve already mentioned probably a million times, thanks to my paternal grandma, our cuisine has a lot of Mallu influence. Hence, the family has taken Olan for granted and it has become a comfort food of sorts at home. Amma makes a killer Olan and I’ve been troubling her to make it since she landed here. We had an extra coconut to spare today and a wedge of white pumpkin sleeping in the refrigerator. We were even more in luck when we discovered some cooked Azuki beans (a variant of black eyed peas) in the freezer and realized that the Olan gods were sending us an obvious message…

Olan

Ingredients:
Quarter White Pumpkin, finely diced

Three quarters cup cooked black eyed peas (or in our case, Azuki beans)

Four Thai green chilies

Two cups coconut milk, equally divided. Add two cups water to one cup

Curry leaves

Two tsp coconut oil

Quarter tsp cayenne pepper

One and a half tsp salt

Method:
Cook the diced pumpkin in the diluted coconut milk, along with the chilies, curry leaves, cayenne pepper powder and salt. When tender, switch off the heat and mix in the rest of the coconut milk. Finally, drizzle the coconut oil on top (if you don’t have coconut oil at home, don’t drizzle any oil. The coconut milk gives it the richness it needs). Eat it as an accompaniment to Sambar and rice if you have made a complete Indian food menu or mix it in with rice and eat it with a curry. Coming to think of it, with a little more gravy and a squeeze of lemon, it would also make a good soup. Burp and Happy Meatless Monday, y’all!
Olan2
And once again, I blog something Amma made. But in her own words, “I cook, you blog. It is only till November anyway.” Boohoo, why did you remind me of that, mom?!

Ps: Friday’s dinner was my work of “art”. Two grueling hours in the kitchen was totally worth it when my layer Parottas came out all soft and flaky. It deserves a special blog post and better pictures, which I promise will happen the next time I make it.


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Why Mommy Should Blog Instead…

mixed veg subziThis here is the reason why my mom should be blogging this post instead of me. I seldom go into the kitchen these days and hardly give an idea for what to make for a meal. Hence, when Amma asked me what we should make for dinner tonight, I, being my ever helpful self, suggested Chapati. I brought Mallika Badrinath’s 100 Delicious Curries book to her and asked her to make any Subzi she fancied from it. And then, I went to sleep. At 2pm. In my defense, I had just put Aarabhi down for a nap and I was excited about taking advantage of the quiet house.

This Subzi, my mother informed me when I tumbled out of bed in search of coffee at 5pm, was a fusion of two sides from the book. It is a wonderful option for Rotis, can be made fancy if you are entertaining and a great accompaniment for Jeera Rice or any fried rice/Pulao/Biriyani you decide to make.

Here is how Amma made it-

Mixed Vegetable Subzi
Two cups mixed veggies (as you know, I always prefer the frozen kind)

One huge onion, chopped

Two tomatoes, chopped

Half cup tomato puree

One Cup low-fat sour cream

Half tsp cayenne pepper powder

Salt to taste

Three Tbsp vegetable oil

Cilantro leaves for garnish

To be ground into a paste:

One tsp poppy seeds, soaked for half hour in warm water

One tsp cumin seeds

Two tsp coriander seeds

Six pods garlic

Method
Heat the oil in a saute pan. Fry the onion until slightly brown. Add the ground paste. Fry until the raw smell goes away. Add a Tbsp sour cream. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry until mushy. Add another Tbsp sour cream the puree and the vegetables. Mix in the salt and cayenne pepper powder. Add the rest of the sour cream. If too thick, add a little water. Let it simmer until semi-solid. Garnish with cilantro.

Now I gotta go!

 


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Mashed!

Okay, this dish is not literally “mashed” but the native word for this recipe (in Tamil), Masiyal, means exactly that. Me-kinda-thinks the name came about because the lentils and vegetables used in this dish are cooked very fine. Think borderline mashed-That’s how well cooked they are. This mixture is then combined with other flavorings and simmered until it reaches a very thick soup-like consistency. Masiyal belongs to the South Indian Sambar family, which means, it can be eaten with rice as a main dish, ¬†as an¬†appetizer in the form of a thick soup (accompanied by bread, of course) or as a side with Dosa, Idli or Upma. The options, as always, are aplenty.

MasiyalMy mother is an ace at making this dish. Give her any vegetable and she can make a bowl of the most delicious Masiyal ever. So it was only fitting that when I made my (long) list of food I wanted Amma to make when she got here, I included this one. She made it with some Senaikizhangu we had bought at the Indian grocery store a couple of weeks ago. This brings us to that wonderful question I’ve been dreading: what on earth is Senaikizhangu? Erm, well, it is called Elephant Yam in English but I am pretty sure that the rest of the world has no clue about the existence of this tuber. It tastes pretty earthy (duh, right?), has thick brown skin and many a person I know is unfortunately allergic to this yam.

So if you don’t find this vegetable, want to avoid taking a risk with your allergies that are probably playing a havoc in your life already this spring, or have tasted and detest this vegetable from the bottom of your heart, you can make it with carrot, zucchini, yellow squash or okra. But if you are a serious foodie and cannot wait to taste Senaikizhangu, I would suggest you go to a big chain like Patel Brothers¬†(if you live in USA). If you are one of those lucky ones who happen to live in India, you probably know where to get it already.

Senaikizhangu (or any other veggie you fancy) Masiyal

Ingredients:
Two cups of the vegetable of your choice, diced into medium-sized pieces

One cup Toor Dal

Two Tbsps tamarind paste dissolved in two cups of water

Four Thai green chili peppers, slit

One tsp turmeric powder

Half tsp cayenne pepper powder

Pinch of asafoetida

Salt to taste

One Tbsp cooking oil

One tsp mustard seeds

A few curry leaves and a sprig of cilantro (optional but recommended)

To dry roast and grind:

One tsp fenugreek seeds

Three dried red chili peppers

Method:
Pressure cook the vegetables, Dal, turmeric and salt in six cups of water. When done, whisk slightly. Heat a pan with the oil. Add the mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the green chili peppers, curry leaves and asafoetida. Pour in the tamarind water. Add a little salt and let it boil on medium heat for a few minutes until the raw flavor of tamarind leaves. Add the Dal/Veggie mixture to the pan and mix in the cayenne pepper powder and ground fenugreek powder. Check for salt. If the consistency is too thick, add a little water. If it is too thin, whisk in some rice or AP flour. Off the heat and garnish with cilantro.

I had it with rice today and have some stored for breakfast tomorrow… and lunch. And hopefully for dinner again.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, folks!

Masiyal2